Becoming a mentor is an opportunity for you to give back in appreciation for your success. However, if you’re devoting your time to helping other professionals in your field, you’ll want to ensure you’re offering a service that has value. These tips can help you become the best mentor you can be, so you can trust that your service is helpful.
Set the Guidelines
It’s up to you to determine how far you’ll go for those you’ll be mentoring, including when you’ll be available to them. Typically, the mentor’s role is merely to guide an up and coming professional, giving them the insights that will help them avoid common pitfalls. If you don’t set the limits for what services you will provide and when you’ll be available, your mentoring duties can overwhelm you. As Daniel Doyle recommends, defining your rules clearly and openly will also help those you’re mentoring to understand the nature of your relationship.
Assess Your Mentee’s Needs
Each time you take on a new mentee, you should conduct a one-on-one interview in which you assess the individual’s needs. Some people will be more prepared for the challenges of their new career than others, so you will have to determine the needs for each individual. For example, one person may only need to seek out your insight for a specific situation here and there. Conversely, another individual may need more hands on guidance that will require regular meetings and frequent updates. As the mentor, it will be up to you to determine how much coaching each mentee will require to ensure their success.
Don’t Be Afraid to Push
Your goal as a mentor is to ensure those you’re mentoring are consistently striving to succeed, which means you can’t be idle in dealing with them. You’ll have to identify their shortcomings and weaknesses, so you can determine when your mentee’s are falling prey to their own bad habits. This will help you recognize when it’s time to push them a little harder. They should be kept just outside their comfort zone to ensure they continue to push themselves to achieve new goals. This is the only way they will keep their careers on track. You can further help them by looking for ways to stir their competitive streaks. When they feel the drive to surpass their peers, they’ll gain more positive attention and discover new opportunities for advancement.
Always Maintain a Supportive Nature
Your mentee will need your support for as long as you work with them. It’s easy to be supportive when your mentee is succeeding or following your advice, but what can you do when you warn them about taking an unwise action? Each mentee is an individual with free will, so you can’t expect them to listen to you all of the time. They will make mistakes and suffer the consequences. Since they will be feeling bad enough, they won’t need you to remind them that you warned against taking that action. Instead, be as supportive as possible and help them make better decisions going forward. Any experienced mentor, such as Daniel Doyle, knows that every mistake or poor decision is a learning experience. Your goal is to help your mentee recognize the lesson to be learned from their mistake, so they can improve their approach.
Hone Your Communication Skills
It’s easy to see a mentee as someone who is inferior in skill and experience, but that doesn’t mean they’re undeserving of your respect. Remember that they have gone through the challenges involved in obtaining the necessary qualifications for their career path, and seeking out a mentor is a sign that they take their career seriously. For this reason, you’ll develop a better rapport with your mentees if you know how to speak tactfully with them. Even when you see them making a foolish mistake, try to keep in mind that you also made your fair share of hasty decisions in your youth. In providing your feedback, be sure to use a respectful tone just as you would use with any of your own peers. When a mentee recognizes the respect you’re showing to them, they will be more open to what you have to say.
You’ll make mistakes as you start out mentoring others, but your willingness to learning from your errors will help you improve the quality of service you offer. Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask those you’re mentoring for their feedback. This will provide you with the insight you need to become a great mentor.